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Garden of HappinessAs I develop my photography skills and learn more in terms of technique, rules and exceptions to those rules, I have started to automatically evaluate the pictures that I take based upon these things.  First things I look for are: sharpness, focus on the subject, DOF, straight lines (horizon, verticals), and rule of thirds. Whether the image adheres to all the rules is not especially significant if I like the image regardless, but it helps me to determine what I may have done differently and/or should keep in mind for next time.

Remember Jenni? Well, this is another one of the images taken at our half-hour lunchtime photo shoot.  It has the second highest hits on flickr of all the images in her set, second to this one.

This is what has me puzzled, though: why is it the second most viewed? What makes it worth viewing?

My first thought is that it has something to do with the title. It’s called “Garden of Happiness”.  All the tags are the same for the rest of the images in the set, so in terms of keywords, that’s the only thing I can figure.

In evaluating the image itself, there are some things I like about it, and some I don’t. I just thought I’d share those things with you.

  • Like: position of the subject/rule of thirds. She is left of center in the frame, her eyes are at/near a thirds intersection, she’s looking to her left and I have given her plenty of space to look into.  This pretty much follows the rule of thirds and composition.
  • Dislike: her fingers on her left hand are chopped off. This tells me I did not look all around the viewfinder to insure I had all wanted elements in the frame. This is a problem I am working to overcome, as I concentrate on getting the subject (i.e. her head) positioned where I want it, I must leave enough room to include all the necessary details. I can crop later, but I cannot add body parts.
  • Like: DoF. I have a tendency to shoot wide open, and this can ruin a lot of shots by making things that should be in focus, not. I’m pretty sure this shot’s aperture was at, or close to, wide open (1.8 on the 50mm), but I was far enough away from her to allow a bit more depth of field to be sharp. It resulted in nice bokeh in the background as well. In hindsight, an aperture of around 2.8 probably would’ve been a bit better, and still allowed for a nice blurred background.
  • Dislike: uneven lighting on her face. It’s so easy when you are shooting to ignore or overlook the way the light hits your subject. In this case, I don’t even remember the sun shining through the trees, and it’s possible that when she sat down it wasn’t but by the time I took the picture, it was.  Either way, the bright/blown out sections of her nose, cheek and chin become really annoying to me the more I look at it.

So, what do you think? Any other thoughts? I always enjoy hearing other people’s perspective, and asking for critique is an excellent way to get constructive feedback. Many times, friends and family will be quick to ooh and ahh over it, which is certainly nice to hear. But, sometimes, I want to hear the cold, hard truth. I can handle it. 😉

Thanks for looking!

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